my first attempt at a fall / winter garden. advice?

katy_bug(z8a GA)August 13, 2012

I recently have some more time on my hands and would like to work in a fall / winter garden. I have read all Elliot Colemen's books on the year round gardening, but I can't find much advice specific to the south. Most of those books seem to be geared towards places where snow is common. Anyway. I have a space approximately 20 ft by 5 ft that I am actively preparing for fall right now. A 10 ft by 5 ft section will have a cold frame (actually a low tunnel) put over it when the time is appropriate. Essencially, I will have 2 blocks of space. One that can be covered for the winter, and one that will not.

In planning, I am trying to figure out:

1. what to plant

2. what is a reasonable amount to plant of each (family of 2 adults, 2 kids)

3. which plants to put in which block. Some things like the peas, I have no expectation of overwintering. Somethings I know could be overwintered with or without cover, but I not sure which is which in my climate.

I am in Athens. Any advice from those of you in the Athens / Atlanta area?

After perusing my most recent seed catalog, here are some things I am thinking of planting.

carrots, nelson

beets, red ace

beets, early wonder

broccoli, arcadia

greens, VIT

greens, Minuta

greens, Claytonia

greens, arugala

kale, red russian

lettuce, defender

radish, crunchy royale

spinachred, cardinal

spinach, python

swiss chard, bright lights

turnip, hakurei

peas, super sugar snap

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You might also want to consider planting rutabagas, but if so, katy_bug, you'd better do so pronto. I planted mine a couple of weeks ago--they need about 3 months till frost hits. Lamb's lettuce (aka corn salad or mache) is another good choice, and you can start that some time in September for a spring harvest. And if you like herbs, garlic is best planted in fall (probably October). Cilantro, parsley, chervil, dill, borage, etc., also like cold weather. Those could easily be started in September.

Hope this helps a little. :)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 3:07AM
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Oh, one more thing--I wouldn't plant broccoli or spinach from seed. It's best to start from plants.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 3:08AM
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katy_bug(z8a GA)

Thanks for the suggestion. You are correct, it's too late for broccoli. I have never grown, or even eaten rutabagas. That is something I should check out.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 1:37PM
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You're welcome. I also wanted to mention that arugula, in case you've never grown it before, is a good choice. It's usually pretty easy. You can start it probably in late September.

Rutabagas aren't for everybody. They're actually sharper and more bitter than turnips. The best way to cook them is to chop them up and saute them in butter (or roast them) to bring out their sweetness.

Best wishes on your garden. :)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 2:57AM
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Oh, I also wanted to mention that if you live in Athens, you're now in Zone 8A! Congratulations!!

How do I know? Well, I'm 45 miles northeast of you, and we used to be in Zone 7B, but now we're in Zone 8A. So I guess we all got a promotion, huh? :)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 3:00AM
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katy_bug(z8a GA)

I had no idea that we had been promoted a zone. Global warming in action

Here is what I have decided about what to plant where.

These will be planted in the area that can be covered with the cold frame for possible overwintering:
carrots, VIT, Minuta, Claytonia, arugala, radish, crunchy royale, spinach

These will be planted outside the coldframe for either early harvest or maybe they will survive:
beets, kale, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, turnip, super sugar snap peas


    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 7:43AM
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I haven't grown a lot of those, but it all definitely sounds like an ambitious selection. Radishes mature in about a month, so unless you want to continually plant them every month, it might be best to leave them out with the others for an early harvest. Arugula is pretty cold-tolerant as well. I've had mixed luck with turnips, but the cold doesn't really seem to harm them. I think I'm going to start mine in early September this year. They're supposed to mature in about 7 weeks, but mine always seem to take longer. Even if the roots don't get to proper size, at least you should have some nice greens. :)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 2:31AM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Katy, do you plan only to cover if it frosts? I covered only once or twice all last year because of the warm winter. Unless it's really below freezing or we have an ice storm, I don't bother covering carrots, radish, vit, arrugula or spinach. They love a touch of the cold!
Good luck! I'm about ready to start my broccoli seeds.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 4:54PM
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katy_bug(z8a GA)

I don't have any real plan yet for covering vegetables. I am interested in harvesting through the winter . . . . but i have no experience yet with winter gardening so we shall see. At the least, I want to separate the things that will more than likely need protection from those that won't so covering them will be easier. What are you planting in your garden this fall / winter?

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 7:39AM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Katy bug, here's a link to my blog. I just made a long list of things I normally plant in my garden

Here is a link that might be useful: The Electric Garden

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 5:02PM
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